My friend and mentor, Velda Brotherton, recently invited me to participate in the Next Big Thing blogfest series. She sent me the questions listed below, which she answered in her post dated November 26. You can find Velda’s answers (and a lovely picture, too!) here:
Here are my answers:
What is your working title of your book?
The working title is Broken Dreams, however, that title was based on the working title of the first book in the “Red Kimono” series, which was Broken Dolls. When the University of Arkansas Press changed the title from Broken Dolls to The Red Kimono, I must admit, I was disappointed at first. After working on the book for over five years, it was like changing the name of my child. But, “The Red Kimono” grew on me, and now I believe the new title is a much better representation of the book. Anyway, I feel pretty sure Broken Dreams will not retain its title once I find a publisher.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
When the story of The Red Kimono first came to my mind, it spanned the years 1941-1963. However, once I started writing the book, I soon realized the story was too long for one book, and I had to split it into two. The Red Kimono covers the lives of Sachi, Nobu and Terrence from 1941-1945, and Broken Dreams covers the same characters’ lives from 1957-1963.
What genre does your book fall under?
I’m terrible at pinpointing books to one genre. If I had to choose one, I would say historical fiction. But, it could also fall under mainstream.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Broken Dreams continues the story of Sachi, Jubie, Nobu and Terrence from 1957 through 1963 as they face issues of racism, resentment, love and forgiveness.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The manuscript for Broken Dreams is not yet complete, therefore I haven’t started looking for an agent or publisher. However, its predecessor, The Red Kimono will be published by the University of Arkansas Press in January.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I have been working on the manuscript for about a year now and estimate I’m approximately 1/4 finished with the first draft. I know. That projects out to a four-year project. As President of Ozarks Writers League and Conference Chair for Oklahoma Writers Federation, it’s an even greater challenge to set my priorities and sit my “you-know-what down” to write, so I haven’t been getting enough writing done in the last few months. But, I listen to my characters almost daily, and I WILL set those priorities. I WILL, I WILL. And soon, I’ll sit my “you-know-what” down to write their stories.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Where The Red Kimono was a story of prejudice and forgiveness that took place during World War II, Broken Dreams is a story of prejudice and forgiveness that takes place at the dawn of the civil rights era, with reflections back to the internment. So, I would say the story in Broken Dreams might compare to a combination of The Help by Kathryn Stockett and Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas or Camp Nine by Vivienne Schiffer.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
As I mentioned earlier, Broken Dreams is a sequel to The Red Kimono. The story was originally inspired by events in my mother’s life, including her internment and the murder of her father by two Black teenagers, however, the stories in these two books are completely fictionalized.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
As with The Red Kimono, the events in Broken Dreams will be historically accurate. Through the eyes of Sachi, Nobu, Terrence and Jubie, the reader will experience events of the civil rights era, such as the Freedom Rides, sit-ins, and the Martin Luther King speech of August 27, 1963.
Now, I hope you’ll travel to these blogs in the Next Best Thing blogfest tour, which will appear on December 12:
Beth Carter: http://banterwithbeth.blogspot.com/
Mary McIntyre Coley: http://blog.marymcintyrecoley.com/
Karen B. Nelson: http://kbnelson.wordpress.com/